Excerpt from Chapter 1
Peppermint is much more than a Christmastime treat. It has a thousand uses. It has been used to freshen breath, flavor beverages, calm nerves, and even grow hair. But as far as I could tell, it did not have the power to repel ex-boyfriends.
I wasn’t considering this failing on peppermint’s part when I awoke early that Thursday morning, two weeks before Christmas, and when I say early, I mean very early. It was before five AM, but there was much to do to prepare for the Harvest Christmas Market that would begin the next afternoon on the village square. I lived and worked just across the square at Swissmen Sweets, an Amish candy shop in Holmes County, Ohio, that I ran with my Amish grandmother Clara King. No, I wasn’t Amish, but my father’s family was. However, I did have peppermint on the mind.
Peppermint was the name of the game for our table at the Christmas Market. The organizer, Margot Rawlings, who typically was the instigator of all major events in the village, said that every table had to have a Christmas theme. Peppermint was the obvious choice for the candy shop. In addition to peppermint bark, we would have peppermint hard candy, fudge, hot chocolate mix, taffy, and thumbprint cookies.
It was midmorning now, and the shop smelled like the inside of a peppermint patty. My grandmother, her young Amish cousin Charlotte, and I worked in a companionable silence that had taken me some time to grow accustomed to. Up until a few months ago, I had spent most of my adult life in New York City working as an assistant chocolatier at JP Chocolates for world-renowned chocolate maker Jean Pierre Ruge. After my grandfather’s death in September, I left city life behind to take over Swissmen Sweets. After working the busy, fully staffed chocolate shop in New York, where there was constant activity, it had taken me some time to get used to the quiet of Swissmen Sweets. Even when the shop was busy, it never felt as frenetic as JP Chocolates. I had grown to like the quiet and was looking forward to my first peaceful Christmas in Amish Country.
Down the counter from me, Maami cut her chocolate peppermint fudge into neat squares, and Charlotte packed them in small white boxes. She tied each box closed with narrow red ribbon. The pair softly murmured to each other in Pennsylvania Dutch while they worked. They looked much more like grandmother and granddaughter in their plain dresses and matching prayer caps than Maami and I ever would. I wasn’t sure they even realized they were speaking a language I didn’t understand at that moment, but I felt a stab of isolation at the other end of the counter as I worked on my own peppermint treats.
I tried to focus on the task at hand. I had hoped to make a few additional peppermint goodies before the market opened, but all my Christmas Market plans seemed to have flown out of m head a few hours earlier, when my ex-boyfriend crashed my candy shop. That was the moment when I realized peppermint’s shortcomings.
Kensington Publishing is giving ONE lucky reader the chance to win a copy of PREMEDITATED PEPPERMINT! To enter, leave a comment below. Giveaway starts today, Wednesday, September 26th and ends Wednesday, October 3rd and is only open to US residents. One winner will be selected at random and announced on Thursday, October 4th. Good luck and don’t forget to share this giveaway with your friends!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Christmas is Bailey King’s favorite time of year. For her first Yuletide in Harvest, Ohio, the former big-city chocolatier is recreating a cherished holiday tre peppermint combined with molten white chocolate. But her sugar high plummets when her former boyfriend walks into the candy shop she now runs with her Amish grandmother. New York celebrity chef Eric Sharp and his TV crew have arrived to film an authentic Amish Christmas. Bailey’s not about to let her beloved town—and Swissmen Sweets—be turned into a sound bite. Unfortunately, she gets more publicity than she bargained for when Eric’s executive producer is found strangled to death—and Eric’s the prime suspect.
With Bailey’s sheriff deputy boyfriend out to prove Eric’s guilt, her bad-boy ex tries to sweet-talk her into helping him clear his name…and rekindle their romance to boost ratings for his show. Now, between a surplus of suspects and a victim who wasn’t who she seemed, Bailey’s edging dangerously close to a killer who isn’t looking to bring joy to the world—or to Bailey—this deadly Noel…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Amanda Flower, who also writes as USA Today bestselling mystery author Isabella Alan, is the nationally bestselling and Agatha Award-winning author of over twenty novels. She is also a librarian in Northeast Ohio. Please visit her online at www.AmandaFlower.com.